Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bob Marley - The Final Concert

I did not realise just how long ago Bob Marley passed away, until preparing this piece. Probably because some of his music is still often heard playing, either on the radio or TV, and the fact that time does indeed seem to fly by ever faster, whatever the case, sadly aged just 36, he passed on in 1981.

Bob Marley played his final concert at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA, on September 23rd, 1980. The live version of 'Redemption Song' on 'Songs of Freedom' was recorded at this show.

Afterwards he sought medical help from Munich specialist Josef Issels however sadly his illness was beyond cure at this stage.

Songs performed are as follows:
01. Natural Mystic
02. Positive Vibration
03. Burnin' & Lootin'
04. Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
05. The Heathen
06. Running Away
07. Crazy Baldhead
08. War No More Trouble
09. Zimbabwe
10. Zion Train
11. No Woman No Cry
12. Jammin'
13. Exodus
14. Redemption Song
15. Coming In From the Cold
16. Could You Be Loved
17. Is This Love

This is a tremendous concert full of the vibrant sound I associate with Bob Marley. The sound quality is very good stereo soundboard (there is some level and tone adjustment during the first song - after that it is really good).

So enjoy this - click on the links below:

Bob Marley - The Last Wonderful Concert 23rd September 1980.rar

Bob Marley - The Last Wonderful Concert 23rd September 1980 part two.rar

Monday, October 29, 2007

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

Will any musician ever have a more explosive short-term impact on the world than The Beatles did during their great run that ended with the release of Abbey Road in 1969? After the group splintered and each bandmember was left to his own devices, it came as no surprise that the prolific Paul McCartney, whose cherubic smile masked a flinty resolve, was first out of the gate. McCartney, released in 1970, yielded the hit “Maybe I'm Amazed” and remained on the charts for nearly a year. Not bad for an album recorded entirely at home.

Always a workhorse, McCartney began writing material for his next album, Ram, while the first album was still sailing on the charts. Although some critics fault Ram, which was released on May 17, 1971, as the saccharine effort that began a slide into camp from which McCartney has never fully recovered, McCartney's hauntingly beautiful touch can be heard throughout the album and is particularly evident in “Back Seat of My Car” and “Ram On.” Ram also produced the smash single “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” which combines McCartney's knack for memorable melodies with some of that theatricality he was always prone to.

Rhythm tracks for “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” were cut in Studio B at CBS Studios on East 52nd Street in Manhattan, with CBS staff engineer Tim Geelan at the desk. Now semi-retired and living in a house that he built into the side of a mountain in Virginia, Geelan cut 22 songs with McCartney during a six-week period in 1971.

“Working on ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ was one of the highlights of my career,” says Geelan, whose long list of credits includes engineering for Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Billy Cobham, The Dictators, Blue Öyster Cult and many others. “Paul was a great producer: thorough, businesslike and loose at the same time. They were very comfortable sessions that followed a pattern. We'd start working at nine or 10 in the morning. Paul would show Denny Seiwell, the drummer [who would later become an original member of Wings], and David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken, the guitar players who split the date, the song we'd be tracking that day. After rehearsing for several hours, we'd cut a version of the tune and then have a lunch break. After lunch, we'd listen to what we had and then record another couple of takes if it was necessary.

“We had a 3M MM-1000 16-track recorder and a homemade console at CBS. Studio B was a big room, about 40 or 50 feet long and 50 feet wide with a 40-foot-high ceiling. We didn't worry about bleeding at all. The setup was real tight and everyone had headsets. Paul was absolutely the best. I was impressed with his musicianship and command of the studio.”

Dixon Van Winkle remembers the Ram sessions well. A young staff member at A&R Recording in New York City at the time, Van Winkle had been on the job for about six months when McCartney and his wife, Linda, showed up after scheduling conflicts forced them out of CBS. “I was a setup man in those days,” says Van Winkle. “Phil Ramone was the king of large orchestral recordings in New York at the time. He didn't have that many guys around who had gone to music school and could read scores, which I was able to do. So I had some value to Phil, who asked me to work with him on the Ram sessions.”

A&R had four studios in Manhattan; A1 was located in the penthouse at 799 7th Ave. “A1 was one of those magical New York rooms — arguably the best of them all,” Van Winkle says. “Originally a CBS studio, it was large enough to handle a full orchestra and it sounded great. We had a warm, fat vacuum tube Altec console that had been custom-built with handmade sidecars and four Altec 604E speakers across the front room, each powered by a 75-watt McIntosh tube amplifier.

“Paul came over to A&R to track the orchestra, vocals and some other overdubs with Phil. But Phil had a scheduling conflict one day and Paul asked me to take over. Things went well, and then Paul asked me if I'd finish the record with him.

“Security was tight, and each day Paul and Linda would come up the back elevator with their kids and a playpen, which we set up in the front of the control room. I was a part-time nanny since Mary would often be crawling around the console and sitting on my lap! The interplay between Paul and Linda was sweet, especially when they were on-mic. Linda actually came up with some parts on her own — the entire backing vocals on ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ consists of the two of them — but when she needed a hand, Paul was great with her. We used a combination of U87s — if we were working on something smooth — and Shure SM57s for the rockier stuff throughout the album. Paul didn't care what mic you put on him, although he did like the U87. He's such a great singer. I know that the vocals they cut over at CBS are Paul singing live right off the floor with the rhythm section into an Electro-Voice RE20, which was a relatively new mic at the time. They recorded the telephone section [of the song] over at CBS, as well. That character voice was also Paul, with a simple highpass filter engaged to give the telephone effect.”

Although Van Winkle did not record the guitar parts that McCracken contributed to “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” he remembers the guitarist well. “Everybody wanted Hugh on their sessions. He wasn't the best reader in town, but the parts he came up with were fantastic. I've heard lots of great guitar players over the years, and I'd say Hugh was in the top five.” Still an active player who can be heard on the current Alicia Keys record and other tracks, McCracken has distinct memories of working with McCartney.

“My answering service got a call asking me if I'd like to audition for Ram, but I was in Florida working on an Aretha Franklin record and didn't pick up the message until I got back into town,” says McCracken. “I was disappointed but happy that David had gotten the job.” Spinozza, who has gone on to enjoy a long and successful career in the music production business and in Broadway pits, now plays in the Hairspray orchestra. After working on “3 Legs” and several other Ram songs, Spinozza and McCartney parted ways. As McCracken recalls, his phone rang one afternoon and Linda McCartney was on the line.

“Linda asked me to hang on while she put Paul on the phone. Paul simply asked me if I could be in the studio the following morning at nine o'clock. I canceled the sessions I had and made the date.” After recording several tracks under McCartney's direct supervision, it came time to lay down basics for “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” “This song represented a breakthrough in our musical relationship,” McCracken says. “Paul is a genius. He sees and hears everything he wants, and would give specific instructions to me and the drummer. But he didn't know what he wanted the guitar part to be like on this song. I asked him to trust me and he did. After I came up with the parts, he was very pleased. For the rest of the record, Paul let me try things out before making any suggestions.”

“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” stems from the British musical theater and has the feel of an overture, with multiple sections that are independent of one another. “That's right,” agrees Van Winkle, “and there were some issues we had to deal with as a result. For example, if you listen carefully, you'll hear Paul gurgling right before the telephone voice comes in. That sound was his imitation of a British telephone ring. He was supposed to give the engineer a cue when he wanted the lowpass filter dropped in for the Admiral Halsey character. The engineer made the switch too early and the filter came in on one of the gurgles! Paul didn't care, though. To him, it was all about the feel of the music.”

The chart, written by George Martin, also posed some engineering challenges. “Everybody knows that George Martin loved experimenting as much as any of The Beatles did,” Van Winkle notes. “If you listen carefully to the trumpet solo that leads into the ‘Hands across the water’ section — which Marvin Stamm, who's still an active player in town, played — you'll hear Paul whistling. Underneath, there's a sound effect written out by George Martin for four French horns; it's a flutter-tongue, fast-fingering atonal little thing in the horns' low range.

“Our usual way of recording horns at A&R was to put a pair of mics either in the front or distant rear of the players. That was traditional at the time, based on the fact that the French horn is a reflective instrument and you want to capture it with some space. But that's not what Paul was used to. He wanted us to stick mics right up in the bell. Although the U87 was the mic we used on horns back then, it would have been too big, so we probably used AKG C-60s instead. At any rate, none of us could figure out the purpose of the chart at that section, but when the mix was completed, it all worked perfectly.

“We did have a little problem mixing some of the horn pads in other sections of the song because they often sat directly in the vocal range. We pulled them down and processed them, as I remember, and you can hardly tell what they are at some points.”

Recording the rain and thunder effects that help glue the first two sections together would be easy today, but it was no small feat in 1971. “I remember Paul telling me that Armin Steiner went out to the edge of a cliff to record that storm, and that it was Paul's idea to add the effect at that point in the track.”

Very few artists in 1971 had the clout to release a single comprising 12 discrete sections, but McCartney's artistic vision was so solidly commercial that no record execs would cross him. Still, Van Winkle was unprepared for the success of “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”: “Despite Paul's charm and ability to pull off anything, I was surprised when the record went so big.”
The first single from the Ram sessions, “Another Day,” never made it onto the album. It was Van Winkle who decided that “Another Day” should be the first release: “We were sitting in Studio A2 one day listening to the takes and Paul asked me to pick the single. I had definite feelings about the record and was in love with ‘Another Day.’ Paul said, ‘Okay. “Another Day” it is.’ I mixed the track and David Crawford cut about 100 copies of it in a back room at A&R for the radio stations. The next day when I heard it on the air, I realized it was a disaster! We got carried away with the bass part, and when it hit the radio station's compressor, it pumped like crazy! I learned that lesson real quick! But we never remixed the song, and Paul never said anything about it.”

Based on Ram's success and the relationship they developed, McCartney asked Van Winkle to work with him on Red Rose Speedway, which was also recorded at A&R.
McCracken eventually worked in the studio with all of the former Beatles, and considers himself fortunate to have had the experience, even though his work with John Lennon brought him face to face with tragedy: “I first worked with John on ‘And So This Is Christmas.’ Like Paul, he was extremely intelligent and aware of what he wanted in the studio. But you'd never find two more diametrically opposed personalities. I was working on Double Fantasy at the time of his death. How long did it take me to recover from that night? I still haven't recovered.”

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gimme Shelter

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Gimme Shelter" was created from the combined efforts of both the singer and the guitarist. Richards had been working on the song's signature opening in London while Jagger was working on the film Performance. The song takes the form of a churning mid-tempo rocker. It begins with a rhythm guitar intro by Richards, followed by Jagger's lead vocal. On the recording of the album, Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, "Well, it's a very rough, very violent era. The Vietnam War. Violence on the screens, pillage and burning. And Vietnam was not war as we knew it in the conventional sense..." On the song itself, he concluded, "That's a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It's apocalypse; the whole record's like that."

The lyrics of the song speak of seeking shelter from a coming storm, painting a picture of devastation and social apocalypse while also talking of the power of love:
“ Oh, a storm is threat'ning, My very life today; If I don't get some shelter, Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away ”

“ War, children, it's just a shot away, It's just a shot away; War, children, it's just a shot away, It's just a shot away ”

A high second vocal track is sung by guest vocalist
Merry Clayton. On her inclusion, Jagger said in the 2003 book According to... The Rolling Stones, "The use of the female voice was the producer's idea. It would be one of those moments along the lines of "I hear a girl on this track - get one on the phone." Clayton gives her solo performance, and one of the song's most famous pieces, after a solo performed by Richards, repeatedly singing "Rape, murder; It's just a shot away, It's just a shot away," and finally screaming the final stanza. She and Jagger finish the song with the line, "Love, sister, it's just a kiss away." To date it remains one of the most prominent contributions to a Rolling Stones track by a female vocalist.

Recording of the song took place and London's Olympic Sound Studios. in February and March 1969. Clayton's piece was recorded at Los Angeles' Sunset Sound & Elektra Studios in October and November of that same year. Nicky Hopkins performed pianos for the song while the Stones' producer Jimmy Miller provided percussion. Charlie Watts performed drums while Bill Wyman performed bass. Jagger performed harmonica for the piece and sang backup vocals with Richards and Clayton. Guitarist Brian Jones was absent from these sessions. An unreleased version features only Richards providing vocals.

Although popular, "Gimme Shelter" was never released as a single. It quickly became a staple of their live show, first featuring throughout their 1969 American Tour. It has been included on many compilation releases, including both Hot Rocks and Forty Licks, and concert versions appear on the Stones' albums No Security and Live Licks.

"Gimme Shelter" was placed #38 in the list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004.

Richards toiled on the opening riff and the music to this song in general for awhile, and with his side outfit, the Expensive Winos, he took his own heavy swipe at it in the live arena, which served up this version, available as a B-side on his "Eileen" single. Keith doesn't really sing it as kind of talk through it, in a Dylanesque way, but it still carries a huge wallop and he injects a really (nice) menacing tone into the song, which is great. I'm usually not one for live recordings, and I'm usually not one for Keef's more recent live vocal outings, but this is a fantastic exception on both fronts.

Merry Clayton - Gimme Shelter

Clayton, originally one of Ray Charles' Raelettes, provided the backing vocals on the original version -- famous for that high wail that cracks and prompts someone (presumably Mick) to just-audibly exclaim "Whoo!" Urban legend holds that Clayton's performance on the original was so impassioned that it in fact caused a miscarriage of the baby she was carrying at the time of recording. It's a great story (tragic, yes, but still great), though it's validity remains in question. Clayton did her own version a year later on an album of the same name, and while it adds a bit more of an R&B feel to he song, the vocal doesn't quite match her first go with the Stones.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paul on John from Playboy Interview 1985

PLAYBOY: Paul, it's been nearly four years since John Lennon died and you haven't really talked about your partnership and what his death meant to you. Can you talk about it now?

PAUL: It's . . . it's just too difficult . . . very feel that if I said anything about John, I would have to sit here for five days and say it all. Or I don't want to say anything.
LINDA: I'm like that.
PAUL: I know George and Ringo can't really talk about it.
PLAYBOY: How did you hear of John's death? What was your first reaction?
PAUL: My manager rang me early in the morning. Linda was taking the kids to school.
LINDA: I had driven the kids to school and I'd just come back in. Paul's face, ugh, it was horrible--even now, when I think of it. . . .
PAUL: A bit grotty.
LINDA: I knew something had happened. . . .
PAUL: It was just too crazy. We just said what everyone said; it was all blurred. It was the same as the Kennedy thing. The same horrific moment, you know. You couldn't take it in. I Can't.
LINDA: It put everybody in a daze for the rest of their life. It'll never make sense.
PAUL: I still haven't taken it in. I don't want to.
PLAYBOY: Yet the only thing you were quoted as saying after John's assassination was, "Well, it's a drag."
PAUL: What happened was we heard the news that morning and, strangely enough, all of us--the three Beatles, friends of John's--all of us reacted in the same way. Separately. Everyone just went to work that day. All of us. Nobody could stay home with that news. We all had to go to work and be with people we knew. Couldn't bear it. We just had to keep going. So I went in and did a day's work in a kind of shock. And as I was coming out of the studio later, there was a reporter, and as we were driving away, he just stuck the microphone in the window and shouted, "What do you think about John's death?" I had just finished a whole day in shock and I said, "It's a drag." I meant drag in the heaviest sense of the word, you know: "It's a--drag." But, you know, when you look at that in print, it says, "Yes, it's a drag." Matter of fact.

PLAYBOY: You tend to give a lot of flip answers to questions, don't you?
PAUL: I know what you mean. When my mum died, I said, "What are we going to do for money?"
LINDA: She brought in extra money for the family.
PAUL: And I've never forgiven myself for that. Really, deep down, you know, I never have quite forgiven myself for that. But that's all I could say then. It's like a lot of kids; when you tell them someone's died, they laugh.
PLAYBOY: Because they can't cope with the emotion?
PAUL: Yes. Exactly.
LINDA: With John's thing, what could you say?
PAUL: What could you say?
LINDA: The pain is beyond words. You can never describe it, I don't care how articulate you are.
PAUL: We just went home, we just looked at all the news on the telly, and we sat there with all the kids, just crying all evening. Just couldn't handle it, really.
LINDA: To this day, we just cry on hearing John's songs; you can't help it. You just cry. There aren't words. . . . I'm going to cry now.
PLAYBOY: Do you remember your last conversation with John?
PAUL: Yes. That is a nice thing, a consoling factor for me, because I do feel it was sad that we never actually sat down and straightened our differences out. But fortunately for me, the last phone conversation I ever had with him was really great, and we didn't have any kind of blowup. It could have easily been one of the other phone calls, when we blew up at each other and slammed the phone down.
PLAYBOY: Do you remember what you talked about?
PAUL: It was just a very happy conversation about his family, my family. Enjoying his life very much; Sean was a very big part of it. And thining about getting on with his career. I remember he said, "Oh, God, I'm like Aunt Mimi, padding round here in me dressing gown"--robe, as he called it, 'cause he was picking up the American vernacular--"feeding the cats in me robe and cooking and putting a cup of tea on. This housewife wants a career!" It was that time for him. He was about to launch Double Fantasy.
PLAYBOY: But getting back to you and your flipness over John's death, isn't that characteristic of you--to show little emotion on the outside, to keep it all internalized?
LINDA: You're right. That's true.
PAUL: True. My mum died when I was 14. That is a kind of strange age to lose a mother. "Cause, you know, you're dealing with puberty--
LINDA: Gosh, we've got a 14-year-old right now!
PAUL: Yes, and for a boy to lose a mother--
LINDA: To have been through so many other growing pains, how can a body take all that and still continue?
PAUL: It's not easy. You're starting to be a man, to be macho. Actually, that was one of the things that brought John and me very close together: He lost his mum when he was 17. Our way of facing it at that age was to laugh at it--not in our hearts but on the surface. It was sort of a wink thing between us. When someone would say, "And how's your mother?" John would say, "She died." We'd know that that person would become incredibly embarrassed and we'd almost have a joke with it. After a few years, the pain subsided a bit. It was a bond between us, actually; quite a big one, as I recall. We came together professionally afterward. And as we became a writing team, I think it helped our intimacy and our trust in each other. Eventually, we were pretty good mates--until the Beatles started to split up and Yoko came into it.
PLAYBOY: And that's when all the feuding and name-calling began. What started it? Did you feel hurt by John?
PAUL: You conldn't think of it as hurt. it was more like old army buddies' splitting up on account of wedding bells. You know sings , "These wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine." He'd fallen in love, and none of us was stupid enough to say, Oh, you shouldn't love her." We could recognize that, but that didn't diminish the hurt we were feeling by being pushed aside. Later on, I remember saying, "Clear the decks, give him his time with Yoko." I wanted him to have his child and more to New York, to do all the things he'd wantedis child and more to New York, to do all the things he'd wanted to do, to learn Japanese, to expand himself.
PLAYBOY: But you didn't understand it at the time?
PAUL: No, at the time, we tried to understand. but what should happen was, if we were the least bit bitchy, that would be very hurtful to them in this--wild thing they were in. I was looking at my second solo album, Ram, the other day and I remember there was one tiny little reference to John in the whole thing. He'd been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit. In one song, I wrote, "Too many people preaching practices," I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko. There wasn't anything else on it that was about them. Oh, there was "You took your lucky break and broke it in two."
LINDA: Same song. They got the message.
PAUL: But I think they took it further--
LINDA: They thought the whole album was about them. And then they got very upset.
PAUL: Yeah, that was the kind of thing that would happen. They'd take one small dig out of proportion and then come back at us in their next album. Then we'd say, "Hey, we only did two percent. they did 200 percent"--and we'd go through all of that insanity.
PLAYBOY: In most of his interviews, John said he never missed the Beatles. Did you believe him?PAUL: I don't know. My theory is that he didn't. Someone like John would want to end the Beatle period and start the Yoko period. And he wouldn't like either to interfere with the other. As he was with Yoko, anything about the Beatles tended inevitably to be an intrusion. So I think he was interested enough in his new life to genuinely not miss us.
PLAYBOY: Did you ever try to find out how he felt about it, about you?
PAUL: I knew there was the kind of support that I'd though he felt for me. But obviously, when you're getting slagged off in public, it shakes that faith. Nah, it's just John mouthing off. I know him. But, well, the name-calling coupled with the hurt--it became a bit of a number, you know?PLAYBOY: Was the way you two went at each other good for the music?
PAUL: Yeah. This was one of the best things about Lennon and McCartney, the competitive element within the team. It was great. But hard to live with. It was hard to live with. It was probably one of the reasons why teams almost have to burn out. And, of course, in finding a strong woman like Yoko, John changed.
LINDA: But that way, you lose yourself.
PAUL: Yeah, I think that probably is the biggest criticism, that John stopped being himself. I used to bitch at him for that. On the phone with me in the later years, he'd get very New York if we were arguing. New York accnt "Awright, goddamn it!" I called him Kojak once, because he was really laying New York street hip on me. Oh, come off it! But, through all of that, I do think he was always a man for fresh horizons. When he wanted to learn Japanese for Yoko, he went to the Biarritz.
LINDA: I like that! Biarritz! You mean Berlitz.
PAUL: Yeah, he wanted fresh challenges all the time. So it was nice of Yoko to fulfill that role. She gave him a direction.Paul leaves to take a telephone call.
LINDA: I was just going to say that I think if John had lived, he might still be saying, "OH, I'm much happier now. . . ."
PLAYBOY: And you don't believe it?
LINDA: The sad thing is that John and Paul both had problems and they loved each other and, boy, could they have helped each other! If they had only communicated! It frustrates me no end, because I was just some chick from New York when I walked into all of that. God, if I'd known what I know now. . . . All I could do was sit there watching them play these games. . . .

PLAYBOY: But wasn't it clear that John wanted only to work with Yoko?
LINDA: No. I know that Paul was desperate to write with John again. And I know John was desperate to write . . . desperate. People thought, Well, he's taking care of Sean, he's a househusband and all that, but he wasn't happy. He couldn't write and it drove him crazy. And Paul could have helped him--easily.

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